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CROOKED HOUSE is a fun ghost trilogy from writer/actor and horror aficionado Mark Gatiss and made as a modern BBC Ghost Story for Christmas. In actual fact, the inspiration is more clearly the genre of portmanteau horrors made by Amicus during the '60s and '70s of which TALES FROM THE CRYPT is a good example.
This three parter is based around a Tudor mansion with a haunted reputation, told by a museum curator in the present day played by Gatiss himself. While the cheapness of the TV production is sometimes apparent, Gatiss' love and respect for genre makes this an anthology impossible to dislike.
The first story is my favourite. Set in the 18th century, The Wainscoting is a traditional haunted house piece with clever details and a suitably frightening spirit manifestation. Philip Jackson gives an excellent performance as the gruff stock trader heading towards a cruel fate and the vibe I got from this was spot on. The second episode, Something Old, is less successful, it's a story of a family curse that features too little horror and too much exposition. The last story, which I think is just called The Knocker, is on firmer ground and delivers a mildly spooky modern-day haunting.
This is all topped off with a pleasing twist ending which will be familiar to those who have seen and enjoyed the likes of DR TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS.
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